January 13, 2012

Android: I’m frustrated!

I have been using Android phones for just about three years now. In that span of time I have had the opportunity to use and play with many phones. Macadamian is a google apps shop and as such Android is a really productive platform for me when on the go. I write more emails on my mobile than I do on my desktop, so this integration is really useful to me.

I’ve now come to a point where I’m disgruntled with the whole Android phone and tablet ecosystem. The carriers and manufacturers are out to get the consumers; it’s a smash and grab job.

Carriers have little interest in undifferentiated phones

The Motorola CEO was just talking about this yesterday. Carriers want to move their data plans; the bait is the choice of phones. The more phones there are to pick from, the better.

I would even add that the more platforms and phones out there, the better the control the carrier has over the vendors. This carrier control over the vendors translates directly into more control over the consumers. For a carrier it’s get any phone and sign up for 24 months and do as I say with your data usage otherwise… and pay on time.

Manufacturers just want to sell more phones

Any manufacturer’s first goal out there is to sell more phones. Any way they can entice a consumer to buy a phone is good. One way is being very slow at updating the older hardware to the newest platform. So aside from Apple, and until recently HP (one could argue Nokia and Symbian), no vendors out there really want me, the consumer, to hold on to my phone. They want me to buy a new one the minute my contract is up. If I could get the latest version of Android on my phone, maybe I would not buy a new one - so goes their thinking.

In the end it’s the consumers who are getting the shaft!

As a consumer, if I want to upgrade my phone because my carrier has decided to not push the latest update, and my phone manufacturer has decided to skin the experience, I’m in for a lot of pain. It’s back to Unix days - load the rom and then re-partition; Oh Joy I’m now a sys admin! I don’t have the time nor the desire for this. I want things to be simple and easy.

Google - man up, or else

Who’s to blame – Google. Google has to man up. Google has to seriously put the screws to the carriers to push the updates immediately on their terms and that’s the end of it. Google also has to get the manufacturers to guarantee they will support new releases moving forward in a timely manner, within 1 month of release of latest version, otherwise the user gets the option to go the stock version of Android.

Tides in consumer interest go sideways quickly. People will grow frustrated with this situation. The growth in Android is going to grind to a halt unless Google does change things and starts imposing ground rules in the playground so that their users get the experience they deserve.

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